I've really focused on stocking my freezer with homemade freezer meals during the month of January, and our freezer is pretty packed! I organized everything yesterday and took this picture of the meals I've made this month. These were all meals that I made for dinner, but made a double or triple batch and froze all the extra (mostly unbaked).
Casseroles are on the left, then breakfast burritos and chicken egg rolls, and a stack of homemade granola bars. These meals will probably be served with frozen veggies and canned or fresh fruit. (The meals pictured are recipes from my master plan list a few weeks ago.)
I stacked all the 8x8-inch casseroles in the freezer with the labeled edge up, so I can select easily. (See this post for more info about how I package/freeze my casseroles.)
Having a chest freezer sure is handy, especially as our family grows. We've had our chest freezer for a year now, and I'm wondering how I managed with just a small apartment-fridge-top freezer! I know I did, but wow... I don't think the kids ate as much 3 1/2 years ago as they do now. :)
Joshua made a trip to Costco last week, right before his surgery. He won't be able to lift anything for a couple months so he told me we were going to buy a LOT of groceries so I didn't have to make as many trips by myself with the kids. :)
I don't have time to do a price list for this shopping trip, but pictured above are grapes (Ruth's birthday request), butter ($2/lb.), sweet potato fries (using coupon -- $4.49/4lbs.), ground beef, and ground turkey.
And more: clementines (another birthday request), spinach (this kept well in the cold garage; used in lasagna, spinach rice casserole, and quiche for the freezer), milk, eggs, oil (we were out!!), and some baking supplies.
Also, but not pictured (it was a crazy day!), we got a rotisserie chicken for $4.99 which we ate for lunch along with some homemade potato wedges and cooked veggies. Ruth turned the chicken upside down on the way to the kitchen so the floor ended up getting mopped that day too. ;)
AND, we bought disposable diapers and wipes (using coupons) with some Costco gift card money that was given to our family. I got diapers in Moshe's size, but haven't opened them yet. They're in case the babysitter(s) want to use them (while I am at the hospital with Joshua in February), or for me to use after the new baby is born (in March). I cringe spending the money on something that will get thrown in the trash, but I know I will really appreciate the convenience when the time comes. :D
This is the cake Joshua made for Ruth's birthday! She wanted chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and hearts on top. I was glad Joshua had fun spending the time making the triple-layer cake and getting it just perfect. ;)
I was more than happy to just make a simple carrot cake for Moshe's birthday (same day as Ruth's). :) One bowl, one pan, and so quick to mix up. ;) We had a lovely birthday lunch at home for Ruth and Moshe on their birthday.
For our family, January's pantry challenge was a continuation of fewer shopping trips (2 for the month), getting my freezers organized (yay!), and starting to make and store some freezer meals.
We stuck to just 2 shopping trips, the freezers are pretty organized (and I know exactly what's in there), and I'm feeling more ready for the challenges ahead now that I've got most of my freezer meals made! :)
Be sure to visit the other bloggers who chronicled their January pantry challenges:
Coming tomorrow: A family photo/update post, and I'll answer all your questions from this post about budgeting! :)